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Do you know exactly what actions you need to do today to be on track to reaching your big, long-term goals?
Do you know which actions should be done first to make today a success?
If not, don't worry about it right now. By the end of this article, you will have the tools and techniques you need to answer a confident YES to both these questions.
By the way, most entrepreneurs and small business owners cannot answer Yes to both these questions. Many of them hop from task to task and work very hard at their businesses, but the results they desire don't happen.
You may be wondering how these these people can work so hard, yet not achieve their long-term goals. One big reason is that hard work alone doesn't make a business successful. There are many other factors that come into play.
Two of the most important factors are these:
1) Using a daily task list
2) Doing "Big Rock" priorities first
You've probably heard of using a daily task list before, but do you do it? I used to overcomplicate things by writing down my tasks all over the place -- sometimes in my day planner, sometimes on post-it notes, sometimes on spare sheets of note paper, etc. By doing it that way it was easy for my mind to get distracted and not make much progress toward my big goals each day.
What I've found works best for me is to keep my daily planning system as simple as possible. What I do now is keep one sheet of paper as my Master Task List and another sheet of paper as my Daily Task List. And I carry both sheets of paper in my pocket at all times.
Your Master Task List is a list of all the tasks that you want to do for your business. This list grows and grows as you think of new ideas and plan out the achievement of your long-term goals. Of course, when you finish a task, you cross it off the list.
Your Daily Task List contains just your tasks listed for today. You should write out your daily list once a day, either just before going to bed or right when you wake up in the morning.
But here's the critical part of this daily list. You only list the most important 3-5 tasks that you want to do today to move your business forward. Don't list all the little things -- just the big ones. Some people call these tasks the "Big Rock" items.
The term "Big Rocks" comes from a demonstration that time management professionals have often done in front of a room. It goes something like this...
Imagine you are sitting in the audience and in front of the room you see a large, clear crystal vase sitting on a table. The vase is empty and several rocks are sitting beside it. As you look closer at the rocks, you can see that they basically can be grouped into two different sizes -- big and little.
The presenter in front of the room tells you that the vase represents the amount of time you have each day and the rocks represent all the tasks you want to get done. He goes on to say that what most business owners do is to do the easy, smaller tasks first. And as he says this, he puts most of the smaller rocks into the bottom of the vase.
But when it comes time to get the big tasks done, they don't fit into your day anymore. And as he says this, he begins placing the big rocks into the vase, but none of them can fit.
He then says, "Let's try it again, but this time with the big rocks first." He empties the contents of the vase and puts all three of the big rocks in. And they fit this time!
Then he puts in the little rocks and they all fit too! The little rocks find resting places between and all around the big rocks. Even though this is a simple exercise, it has a profoundly important message for you and your business. And that is this...
Focusing on doing your Big rocks first everyday is one of the keys to big results, more profits and more free time! As you plan out your day today (or tomorrow if you are reading this late in the day), make sure to pick your top one, two, or three big rocks and attack them as soon as you can during the day. If you can't do them right away, at least schedule the time to do them in your planner so you can set aside time today to get them done.
In his bestselling books and seminars, Og Mandino has often said that one of your secrets to success is to live each day in a daytight compartment. This means to live your life focused on what you can accomplish in the 24 hours that are in front of you right now. Live today as if it's all you have and focus on the top priority tasks that you need to complete before the 24 hours is up.
Og's discussion of daytight compartments also refers to not dwelling on mistakes of the past or worries about the future. Instead, focus your efforts on what you can do today and you'll see the results start pouring in for you as each productive day passes.
The great Earl Nightingale once said that "Successful people form the habit of doing what failures don't like to do. They like the results they get by doing what they don't necessarily enjoy."
Earl is saying that you'll often be faced with having to do unenjoyable tasks from time to time. And a lot of the time these unenjoyable tasks are your big rocks for the day. So instead of procrastinating, go out there and get it done!
Tom Hopkins said it a little differently: "Every evening, write down the six most important things that you must do the next day (for your business). Then while you sleep your subconscious will work on the best ways for you to accomplish them. Your next day will go much more smoothly."
Take a tip from the experts like Og, Earl, and Tom and go out there and make it happen today. Take the time to write out your Daily Task List for the day and carry it with you everywhere. And when you complete one of your Big Rocks, cross it off the list with a smile!
Matt Zembruski (aka "Mr. Momentum") is the author of this article and publisher of the Massive Momentum Now newsletter. Subscribe today to get your free audio special report called "The #1 Reason Why Businesses Fail and How You Can Avoid It!". You will also discover a proven step-by-step system that gets you results...guaranteed. Free subscription if you visit our site today. ($197 value) http://www.mrmomentum.com
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